Many of us go into curiosity mode when we surf the Internet. One of the keys to the success of the web is that it can in fact, satisfy our curiosity about almost anything we can think of. Over time we have learned to satisfy this curiosity simply by a mouse click here, and a mouse click there. In a sense, we have a conditioned response to “just click”.
So there you are surfing the net when you get his popup on your screen: “your system is infected with dangerous virus! Note: Strongly recommend to install antispyware program to clean your system and avoid total crash of your computer! Click OK to download the antispyware.
This type of popup announcement is a very powerful motivator. Would you click?
Unfortunately, if you had clicked on this particular popup you would have begun the process of infecting your computer with IEAntiVirus rogue security software, the objective of which is to convince you to pay for the removal of false positives; fake or false malware detection warnings, that this program is designed to install on your machine.
IEAntiVirus, a clone of MalwareBell, FilesSecure and IEDefender was specifically developed to mislead unaware computer users’ into downloading and paying for the “full” version of this bogus software, based on the false malware positives generated by the application. Even if you are tricked into paying for the “full” version, nothing, not even the false warnings will be cleaned from your computer.
The message here is: never click on unsolicited invitations to download software of any kind.
You need to be sure that any security application you are considering installing on your computer is recognized as legitimate by industry experts. To do that, visit Spyware Warrior, an excellent web site that will advise you what products work and have a deserved reputation for quality performance.
Generally, reputable anti-spyware software is capable of detecting rogue software if it attempts to install, or on a malware scan. But this is not always the case. Anti-malware programs that rely on a definition database can be behind the curve in recognizing the newest threats.
A good partial solution to this problem is to ensure you have installed, and are running, an anti-malware application such as ThreatFire 3, free from PC Tools. This type of program operates using heuristics, or behavioral analysis, to identify newer threats.
As well, Malwarebytes, a reliable anti-malware company has created a free application to help keep you safe and secure. RogueRemover (latest version released May 30/08), will safely remove a number of rogue security applications.
A further resource worth noting is the Bleeping Computer web site where help is available for many computer related problems, including the removal of rogue software.
What you can do to reduce the chances of infecting your system with rogue security software.
- Be careful in downloading freeware or shareware programs. Spyware is occasionally concealed in these programs. Download this type of program only through reputable web sites such as Download.com, or sites that you know to be safe.
- Consider carefully the inherent risks attached to peer-to-peer (P2P), or file sharing applications.
- Install an Internet Browser add-on that provides protection against questionable or unsafe websites. My personal favorite is Web of Trust, an Internet Explorer/FireFox add-on that offers substantial protection against questionable or unsafe websites.
- Do not click on unsolicited invitations to download software of any kind.
Additional precautions you can take to protect your computer system:
- When surfing the web: Stop. Think. Click
- Don’t open unknown email attachments
- Don’t run programs of unknown origin
- Disable hidden filename extensions
- Keep all applications (including your operating system) patched
- Turn off your computer or disconnect from the network when not in use
- Disable scripting features in email programs
- Make regular backups of critical data
- Make a boot disk in case your computer is damaged or compromised
- Turn off file and printer sharing on the computer.
- Install a personal firewall on the computer.
- Install anti-virus/anti-spyware software and ensure it is configured to automatically update when you are connected to the Internet
- Ensure the anti-virus software scans all e-mail attachments